Freeze Mage Matchups & Mulligans Advanced Guide

Freeze Mage for experts! Get the latest Decklist and some in-depth Mulligan and Match-up help to up your game.

Introduction

Hi all,

Camzeee here with a premium focused Freeze Mage guide. I wanted to go in to depth just on the advanced mechanics of Freeze Mage rather than write about overall gameplay and more basic stuff. For that, you can reference my old guide here. This list is updated with my latest version and is built to ladder with.

Let’s jump right in with the decklist and key elements!

Card by Card Analysis

Mad Scientist is one of the most important cards in the deck. I had a brief but intense discussion with writer Modded about whether both Scientists are must-haves in Freeze Mage. I argued that as one of only two cards that you want in your opening hand every game, it is essential in Freeze Mage for smoothing out your curve and also in providing value. Modded argued that it can be a dead draw late on. I don’t disagree with that, but the chance of it getting good value and its importance in the mulligan stage I’d argue is too critical to leave out even one. The sheer value that it provides is amazing when it works well and it can also be used for emergencies if you don’t happen to draw an Ice Block when you really need it.

Doomsayer is one of my favorite cards in the entire game. It can be used in a number of creative ways to stall and create difficult situations for your opponent. It’s great combo’ed with Frost Nova or Blizzard and it’s also the best card to play into a Mech Mage’s Mirror Entity. There’s also a higher level use for it against Sylvanas Windrunner.

Sylvanas is a great card but she’s a liability against Freeze Mage because of Doomsayer. You can play Doomsayer and then Fireball the Sylvanas to give Doomsayer to your opponent, thus instantly wiping his board. An alternative is to Blizzard first and then Frostbolt Sylvanas after, gifting the Doomsayer. You can be quite creative with it but essentially, you should look to give Doomsayer to your opponent via Sylvanas’ Deathrattle.

The worst thing that could happen to the Doomsayer is that it gets silenced. Luckily, silence cards are pretty rare and most decks only run one so it usually can soak up either 7 damage or ideally wipe the board.

Ice Block is the deck’s last line of defense and a must-have. This card is what gives Freeze Mage the time it needs to burst for lethal. It’s best when triggered through Scientist early on, but is actually better in the end-game to have in hand so you can set it up manually. Be wary that Ice Block does not prevent damage taken on your turn. Fatigue therefore is a death sentence when you’re at 1 hp and a Hunter’s Explosive Trap can also kill you through the block. Sadly, Kezan Mystic single-handedly ruins Freeze Mage because stealing this also removes your last hope of surviving.

**Bonus – When playing against Freeze Mage, save your Dr. Boom if you can. If they freeze your board and play Doomsayer, playing Dr. Boom guarantees at least 2 damage from the Boombots which hits THROUGH Ice Block which can often result in lethal.

Acolyte of Pain represents additional card draw and is also one of the most misplayed cards in the deck. Against 90% of classes, this should not be played prior to turn 5 where you can ping it and draw a card immediately. Always try to extract at least two cards from it. The only match-up where it’s advised to play it early is against Priest. Almost all Priests run Cabal Shadow Priest which can straight up steal your Acolyte and deny your draw. Play it earlier against a Northshire Cleric for instance to get those draws before they get stolen from you.

I could write a whole article about Antonidas alone. In this deck, he serves as an alternate win condition by generating additional Fireballs for burst. The classic activation for him is Antonidas > Frostbolt > Ice Lance on turn 10. However, it’s now easier to draw a few Fireballs out of him from Emperor such as Antonidas > Frost Nova > Ice Block or a combination of the Ice spells. Whenever you play him, try to draw at least TWO Fireballs out of him. If you’re playing him as an alternate win condition, you’ll need the additional burn.

The decks which you’ll likely need him for are Control Warrior (pray you don’t queue one), Paladin and sometimes Priest.

Alexstrasza – the card that is forever doomed to be at the bottom of your deck. Just kidding. Alexstrasza is often the one card that you need more than any other in order to win as Freeze Mage. If the board state is good and you have the activation for Antonidas, you can start burning your opponent from full. However, in most match-ups, you’ll be hard pressed and need the instant damage from Alexstrasza’s Battlecry to get opponents into kill range. You should almost always Alexstrasza your opponent while you have an Ice Block up. This gives you a turn to regroup, forces him to both pop your block and deal with Alex, and leaves you in a far more comfortable position. If you’re playing some extremely aggressive decks, you may have to Alex yourself, but this should be a last resort situation rather than the norm. My biggest tip for playing her though is to draw her. So many games have been lost by lousy draws where she never appears.

Timing Alexstrasza is also important. If you can stabilize the board with board clears and still maintain a healthy life total, opt for that before playing Alex. You’ll want the board to be as clear as possible before you play her.

Match-ups and Mulligans

Freeze Mage is a very match-up dependent deck and the way you play is heavily influenced by your opponents’ class. Let’s look into a few of the most common meta decks today and how to beat them.

Hunter

  • Face, Midrange
  • Even – favorable
  • Mulligan for: Mad Scientist, Arcane Intellect, Explosive Sheep

This match-up can be quite tricky but I think it is overall favored for the Freeze Mage. Face Hunter is about even and you’re favored against a Midrange Highmane variant. If you draw your Mad Scientists and can setup your Ice Barriers/Blocks while maintaining tempo, you’ll be well on your way to victory. Hunter does not run any heals and that means that you can burst more exactly without fear of getting healed out of range. Freeze their board as much as you can, try to get a Thaurissan out and use Alexstrasza defensively for additional health.

Draw cards in the early game even if it means taking an additional 2 or 3 damage. Arcane Intellect on three is often the best play because without cards you cannot effectively stop the waves of Hunter attacks while setting up to win. Arcane Golem is a real liability against you because an additional mana crystal is so valuable to Freeze Mage. The goal of the deck is to make it to turn 9 or 10 alive and Arcane Golem gets you there one turn sooner.

Antique Healbot is in there as a tech against Hunter. You can replace it with another freeze or draw card if you’re not running into many of them.

Mage

  • Tempo, Mech, Freeze
  • Favorable – Very favorable
  • Mulligan for: Mad Scientist, Arcane Intellect, Explosive Sheep, Doomsayer

Expect Tempo Mage in today’s meta. It can be tough to combat their early tempo plays, but a Scientist helps immensely. Be wary of Counterspell because it can ruin a lot of our key combos. Overall though, I’d say we are favored, just about. Remember the trick with Sylvanas Windrunner, because it can definitely help since Sylvanas is a popular tech in Tempo Mage.

A key Doomsayer + Frost Nova combo on turn 5 is huge for regaining the board. Be sure to play it as soon as you can because starting on turn 6, the Mage can Fireball and ping the Doomsayer to preserve his board. Doomsayer is a keep in the mulligan because of another key card – Mirror Entity. Playing a Doomsayer into a Mirror Entity is huge and can destroy the entire opponents’ board and tempo. Stay alive, Alexstrasza offensively, and this game is yours.

If your opponent is Mech, our deck is more favored to win. I’d say it’s up at 70-30. Mech Mage is a board flood deck which Freeze Mage is great against. Setup your secrets and try  not to get overwhelmed in the early-game. The weakness of this deck is in the first 4 turns where Mech Mage can sometimes get a huge board and apply too much pressure too fast. That’s why it’s important to get Mad Scientist and Doomsayer to stem the tide. Antique Healbot also helps out here a ton.

In the mirror match, focus on drawing more cards and Alexstrasza first. Usually, the first person to Alexstrasza will win the mirror match since they have the first shot at popping the opponents’ Ice Block. Look to punish overdraw mistakes as well. Pinging an opposing Acolyte to force an overdraw can be huge and burning off an Ice Block or an Alexstrasza can be game-winning. Be wary of attacking face as well with a secret up, because an untimely Ice Block can leave you out of lethal range.

Rogue

  • Oil, Miracle, Tempo
  • Favorable
  • Mulligan for: Mad Scientist, Arcane Intellect, Acolye of Pain

Rogues typically have slow starts to the game which suits us to a tee. Take your time developing and drawing cards. Play the Acolyte on turn 5 with a ping to draw immediately, and begin gathering the burn cards you need to finish with. The Freeze mechanic is immensely frustrating for a Rogue deck who thrives on killing minions and developing their own. Putting out independent creatures isn’t their forte and they often reluctantly put out creatures for any presence which then gets swept up by your AoE.

Be wary of the big Blade Flurry turns that Rogue is capable of and keep your life total high. Once you Alexstrasza your opponent, they have to clear your threat, heal (which they often don’t have) and pop your Ice Block in one turn. This is often too much for a Rogue to do and they’ll go down over two turns with spell bursts.

Druid

  • Combo, Ramp, Midrange
  • Unfavorable – slightly unfavorable
  • Mulligan for: Mad Scientist, Arcane Intellect

This is a tough match-up in the current metagame. Druids have been getting faster and faster, and this latest incarnation with Emperor Thaurissan can launch huge bursts as early as turn 7 with Force of Nature + Savage Roar. Coupled with early Innervate and Wild Growth plays, this match-up can often be a huge snowball that you are entirely helpless against.

However, it’s not unwinnable with poor draws from your opponent and smart play. Consider a potential Loatheb when you are planning your lethal turns out and also account for Ancient of Lore being on hand to heal. As a result, focus on whittling all the Druid’s armor off BEFORE Alexstrasza so that they are more vulnerable to a lethal burst.

Play to win. If you play too passively and defensively you WILL lose this game. You have to be aggressive and Alexstrasza your opponent, and use a few spells to setup lethal. It’s tough, but winning this match-up is a test of a good Freeze Mage player and if you can get a 50/50 win ratio you’re doing great.

Warrior

  • Control, Grim Patron
  • Very, very unfavorable – unfavorable
  • Mulligan for: Mad Scientist, Arcane Intellect, Acolyte of Pain

The match-up against Control Warrior is the worst in the entire competitive metagame of Hearthstone. You will win maybe 1 in 10 games and only if you’re very lucky. As much as you can, try to keep their armor down and draw lots of cards. In all my won games against Control Warrior, Archmage Antonidas got at least two additional Fireballs for extra burn. A key Thaurissan improves this match-up but it’s still a real struggle. Alexstrasza HAS to be used offensively which means that you also have to do a good job of keeping yourself safe from lethal. This is easier with Warrior than other classes thankfully, but the Grommash Hellscream bursts can end games fast and catch you off guard. Don’t be too upset losing this one. You’re expected to lose.

Grim Patron Warrior on the other hand is a much more manageable threat. Since the deck wins through big Frothing Berserkers and Grim Patrons, freeze holds them down quite effectively and Flamestrike is your deck’s MVP. The same strategy holds though, you need to keep their armor down and Alexstrasza offensively in order to win. The good news is, they have fewer armor gaining methods and this means you won’t have quite as difficult a time bursting them down although it’s still tough.

Paladin

  • Midrange, Dragon Control
  • Very Favorable
  • Mulligan for: Mad Scientist, Arcane Intellect, Explosive Sheep

This match-up is great for Freeze Mage. Not only does Paladin have a slower early game than some, it has a tough time removing Doomsayer which means full board clears are quite common. Their cards are also weak to mass AoE damage like Blizzard and they have little burst to pressure your life total meaningfully. Develop a board, draw cards and try to clear theirs with Doomsayer – it’ll work on Paladin more often than just about any other class. If you reach the late-game with a pretty decent life total and Ice Block setup you have all but won after Alexstrasza.

Be wary of the big heals Paladin is capable of. Lay on Hands and Antique Healbot can heal them all the way back up to full health but in doing so, they likely can’t pop your Ice Block, giving you time to draw more burst or generate it through Antonidas.

The most likely way that you lose is if they can spiral a board out of your control. Explosive Sheep is key in this match-up to deal with the Knife Juggler and Muster for Battle plays that can give them dangerous tempo and pressure your life total.

Warlock

  • Zoo, Hand-lock
  • Very favorable
  • Mulligan for: Mad Scientist, Arcane Intellect, Explosive Sheep

Freeze Mage is a great choice when you’re facing a bunch of Warlocks. The Warlock hero power naturally puts their life total at risk to burst and both variants are low on burst themselves which gives you time to draw and prepare. Emperor Thaurissan is a rather key card in this match-up as an enabler to huge bursts which can be what you need to win. Against Zoo, use your freeze sparingly, and try to combo it with Doomsayer. Zoo has a really tough time getting rid of Doomsayer and catching a big board up in a freeze combo often leaves them too far behind in the race for face.

Remember that sometimes a Zoo board has a bunch of minions but they aren’t actually threatening much damage. A board of Nerubian Egg, Haunted Creeper and Abusive Sergeant is not worth a Blizzard since it actually gives them MORE damage than before you AoE’d. Keep in mind that it’s damage we’re looking to reduce primarily.

Alexstrasza is a luxury in this match-up which means it’s not incorrect to use her on yourself if the Warlock is below 20 health and you really need the sustain. Keep her around though if the Warlock is playing very conservatively. I’ve seen some Handlocks refuse to tap below 25 health and that could be a problem if you use Alexstrasza defensively instead of offensively.

Shaman

  • Midrange, Mech
  • Slightly unfavorable
  • Mulligan for: Mad Scientist, Arcane Intellect, Explosive Sheep

I’ll be honest in saying that this is the match-up that I’m least familiar with. I have a decent record against Shaman, but I feel as though it’s ultimately not a favorable match-up. Shamans are either built more midrange and run Antique Healbot or they’re Mech aggro variants which can deal a ton of damage before we can stop them. They also have the best answers to Doomsayer in Hex or Earth Shock, and a decent amount of burst if built for it.

You play this match-up a lot like the Paladin one. Clear their board as effectively as you can, stall in the mid-game and Alexstrasza offensively. This match-up is likely worse because Shaman runs a bunch of sticky minions like Haunted Creeper and Nerubian Egg which really stymie our AoE board clears.

A good draw can definitely win you the game here, but over the course of the game the Shaman will dictate play and that can be very difficult to contend with.

Priest

  • Control
  • Very favorable
  • Mulligan for: Mad Scientist, Arcane Intellect, Acolyte of Pain

This is a very nice match-up; it’s possibly the best one for Freeze Mage. Priests’ lack of burst and life cap of 30 really hurt its ability to stay alive from big burst damage. Their slow early game also gives you time to draw into answers. A lot of Priests don’t run Shadow Word: Pain which is the only really effective way to deal with Doomsayer, and they also play Sylvanas Windrunner as well for the double whammy.

Draw cards, do a Doomsayer + Frost Nova clear, play your Acolytes early so they don’t get stolen by Cabal Shadow Priest and burst after an offensive Alexstrasza. Be wary of the chain heals that Priest can do to keep its life total up in Light of the Naaru and Holy Fire. Luckily, you should be able to burst them down regardless especially if you can get a few activations off Archmage Antonidas.

Tech Cards/Alternatives

Sadly, Freeze Mage is a rather expensive deck and few cards are replaceable because of how the deck synergizes and functions. In fact, I would only say one card in the deck is a true flex slot – Antique Healbot

That card can be replaced with a number of decent alternatives to help in certain match-ups.

  • Novice Engineer – My go-to choice for additional card draw. I prefer it over Loot Hoarder because the minion damage is outweighed in my opinion by the ability to get a guaranteed draw  on your own turn.
  • Explosive Sheep #2 – Helpful against board flood decks like Mech Mage, Paladin and Zoo
  • Cone of Cold – Extra utility freeze for if you seem to struggle mid-game to contain the opponent

The legendary cards, secrets and spells are all pretty much mandatory and aren’t replaceable. Some people argue Thalnos can be replaced with a Kobold Geomancer or Loot Hoarder, but I’m telling you that this just isn’t viable. Thalnos’ utility and value in this deck is incredible and losing out on one of its effects makes the deck considerably weaker.

The other 3 legendaries all have unique effects that can’t be replicated by any other means and thus aren’t replaceable. Sorry folks, this is a rich man’s game and a rich man’s deck.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading! Hope it’s helpful to all you Freeze Mage enthusiasts out there. I know the deck isn’t for everyone, but the most methodical and thorough players can win consistently with it and you’d do well to at least learn to beat it.  If you have questions or any feedback you’d like to leave me, I’ll be on hand to answer and respond to all of them in the comments below.

Peace out!


About Camzeee

I am a multi legend-ranked player with Level 60 heroes for every class. My favorite card in Hearthstone is Lord Jaraxxus (gold of course!) and I’m also an arena infinite player with over 800 arenas completed.

If you’re interested in Arena, here’s my Arena Mastery link and my own personal 12-Win Arena Log where I record every card/deck I’ve made it to 12 wins with (80+). 

I offer Ranked Ladder and Arena coaching through HearthstoneCoaching.com (founded by Sheng). Visit the site if you’re interested in having me coach you!